Suddenly, after all the talk of matching any offer to return Jeremy Lin to the team, a report surfaces that the New York Knicks have been in touch with representatives for Raymond Felton, discussing a possible sign-and-trade with the point guard, the player’s agent, Tony Dutt, said Saturday night.
Dutt told ESPN The Magazine that the deal is close and that New York was the preferred destination of Felton, who played last season for Portland but played the 2010-11 season with the Knicks.
The discussions raise the possibility the Knicks will not match the offer sheet Lin signed with the Houston Rockets earlier last week.
In a strange twist, a source close to the Lin talks said Houston has been unsuccessful in several attempts to deliver the offer sheet to Knicks general manager Glen Grunwald.
League rules say the offer sheet has to be physically delivered.
Once the Knicks receive it from the Rockets, they have a three-day window to match.
The Knicks also confirmed Saturday they have decided not to match the Toronto Raptors three-year offer sheet worth nearly $20 million to Landry Fields.
The Rockets’ offer sheet for Lin is worth a little more than $25 million — $5 million in the first year, $5.225 million in the second and $14.8 million in the third.
“They will match any offer on Lin up to $1 billion,” a source told ESPN.com’s Marc Stein last week.
It’s not clear, however, if the new deal has changed that thinking since the third year of the current deal carries an even bigger cap hit.
Lin, a restricted free agent, made $788,000 last season when he averaged 14.6 points, 6.2 assists and 3.1 rebounds in 35 games with 25 starts before his campaign was cut short because of surgery to repair torn cartilage in his knee.
But in the 35 games he was healthy, Lin went from an end-of-the-bench afterthought to an international phenomenon. The undrafted guard out of Harvard, who was cut twice in the preseason (once by the Rockets) and played in the D-League, set the league on fire in February, leading the Knicks to seven consecutive wins. He scored at least 20 points in nine of 10 games during that stretch.